Friday, January 21, 2011

Qantas Makes Australia Easier and More Affordable

Frommer's Australia 2011 (Frommer's Complete)Since I’m currently there, Australia is on the brain and I’ve heard about some great Qantas specials I’d like to pass along to for those of you who are thinking of coming Down Under. 

In order for me to come to down to Australia, I had to take two planes to Los Angeles and fly from there. That’s going to change for many like me who don't live on the West Coast.  Starting in May, you can cut down your expenses and plane rides with a brand new nonstop from Dallas Fort Worth to Brisbane or Sydney. Considering DFW is a large hub (especially to American Airlines, a Qantas partner) with flights from throughout the East, South, Southwest and Midwest, it will make  it a lot easier to get to Australia.

Lonely Planet Australia (Country Guide)
The other piece of Qantas news I have is something you can take advantage of right away if you’d like to check out some areas that visitors often miss. Western Australia is home to the Outback, the Coral Coast, and beautiful Perth, where there is sunshine 3,000 hours a year.  And, let's not forget the wine.  Qantas Vacations is offering FREE domestic flights to the first 2,000 travelers who book trips to Sydney, Brisbane or Melbourne. This means you can make a stopover to see what Western Australia has to offer without adding additional expense. Since this offer is limited, make sure you book it with Qantas Vacations as soon as possible.

I know that lady whose name starts with an “O” has been promoting this beautiful country, but if you want some realistic incentive to come visit, check out my stories over the next few weeks at Wine And Spirits Travel.  There will be lots of reports on my fun-filled Australian adventure for real people,  and this trip isn’t costing anyone  $5 million!

Friday, January 14, 2011

Cassa Hotel and Residences and Voli Invite You To Pick Up Your Spirits

Here’s a spirited trip for you, and it involves one of my favorites.  Voli Vodka.  Voli makes low calorie, electrolyte-induced vodkas in yummy flavors like Vanilla Espresso and Raspberry Cocoa.  If you haven’t had any yet, here’s a chance to try some along with a special trip deal.

Cassa Hotel and Residences, a luxury boutique hotel in New York City, is offering a “Pick Up Your Spirits with Shopping” package. The deal, which includes one night accommodations; breakfast for two, with choices like Vanilla and Rum Brioche French Toast and Fresh Fruit Soaked in Mint Citrus Dressing;  a three hour shopping excursion, including access to  sample sale information and wholesale designer showrooms;  and Voli Vodka for you to relax with at the end of the day.

The rooms at Cassa are rather luxurious, with robes, Angelo Caroli bath amenities, MP3 payers, 42” flat screen televisions, WiFi, and a snack bar in the room filled with Dean & Deluca gourmet foods. There’s also a 24 hour Fitness Center on the premises. The hotel is within walking distance of Broadway Shows and museums.

For more information on the package, which is available through March, visit the Cassa Hotel and Residences website and enter code SHOP, or call 212.302.8700 (toll-free 888-53-CASSA).

Friday, January 7, 2011

Cruise Ships Offering New Drinking Options

Celebrity Cruise Line

Since I just made plans to head off on one of Celebrity’s Wine Cruises on the Millenium (which I will be writing about daily on Wine And Spirits Travel in May), it seems like a good day to take a look at what they cruises are doing to celebrate wine and spirits.   The days of just providing a bar or two with a standard cocktail and beer menu are long over as some lines are coming up with unique ways for passengers to imbibe.

Celebrity’s Millenium isn’t the only one of the fleet into the wine and spirits world.  Their newest ship, the Silhouette, will have modern lounges and specialty restaurants. Michael's Club will offer a selection of unique international beers and the "Cellermasters" program will let passengers learn (and taste) wines from around the world.

Carnival’s Magic, which sets sail for the first time this May, has some new drinking options.  The RedFrog Pub has a Caribbean theme and will not only have lots of frozen cocktails, but it will feature ThirstyFrog Red, a private-label draught beer that’s being brewed especially for the Carnival Magic.  Also on that ship passengers will find the Ocean Plaza. This indoor/outdoor cafĂ© will specialize in martinis and mojitos.

The most unusual spirits offering has to be on the Norwegian Epic.  This mega ship has  an actual ice bar!  NCL has partnered with SVEDKA Vodka and Inniskillin Ice Wine to create this frozen bar (one of only 14 in the world).  It’s a frozen chamber, with tables, stools, bar – just about everything – made out of ice!  It's certainly not the place to go if you want to stay warm, but  signature cocktails include the Northern Lights (SVEDKA Citron, Cointreau and Blue Curacao) and the Nordic Apple Juice (SVEDKA vodka, Sour Apple Schnapps, Midori and a splash of fresh sour).  Seating is limited and there is a cover charge, which includes two drinks.